How to RV in the Winter

Putting your RV away for the winter can be a major mistake. Sure, you might not be able to spend as much time outside in the winter as you can when traveling in the summer, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t fun to be had. If you plan carefully and outfit yourself with the right gear, you might find that winter RV travel quickly becomes one of your favorite hobbies.

tips-for-winter-rvingMake Sure the RV Is Ready

You might not mind if your windows are a little drafty when you travel in the summer, but that can become a major problem on a cold winter night. Before you head out in the winter, make sure your rig is ready by checking things like seals and insulation. Make improvements where necessary, and even consider spending a night in your RV at home when the weather gets cold to see how it fares. You don’t want to find yourself hours from home and stuck in a freezing RV, so preparation is key when it comes to winter travel.

Make a Smart Plan

While most modern RV’s are relatively well-equipped to deal with winter weather, your rig is still not a 4×4 in terms of its ability to get around icy or snowy roads. You don’t want to put yourself or your RV in a dangerous situation, so only plan to travel on roads that you know are going to be maintained throughout the winter. Also, call ahead if possible to confirm that your targeted campground is open for business and have spots available. Driving around late at night to find a spot might be a ‘fun adventure’ in the summer, but it is frustrating and potentially dangerous in the winter months.

Pack for the Conditions

Be sure to bring along plenty of cold weather gear for your trip when you head out on an RV vacation in the middle of winter. Things like blankets and coats/sweatshirts should be abundant, and you will also want to make sure your sleeping gear is rated to be able to handle cold temperatures. Remember, although your RV has a heating system on board, you can’t necessarily bank on that system to operate properly throughout the trip. If something goes wrong and you don’t have the heat supply you expected, you need to be prepared to get through the nights comfortably.

Since the weather is far less predictable in the winter as compared to the summer, you also need to bring extra food and water to get by a couple extra days in case a snowstorm strands you in place. If you are planning on taking a three-day trip, for example, bring provisions for five days so you can ride it out in the RV if the weather comes in harshly. Of course, you can always eat that extra food when back at home, so it doesn’t need to be wasted if the weather turns out to be just fine.

Extra Fuel

Many RV’s use propane to power the on-board furnace. If that is the case with your rig, make sure you bring extra fuel as you are going to be going through it far faster than you do in the summer. Since some of the fuel stations near your campground may not be open during the winter months, you want to be as self-sustaining as possible by bringing extra from home.

Travel in your RV is a little bit more work in the winter than it is in the summer. However, that extra effort can be more than worth it when you see some of the beautiful places that you can enjoy in the peace and quiet that usually comes along with the winter months. By traveling smart and planning properly in advance, you can look forward to a great trip in your home away from home.


  • Another tip is to use the RVs furnace. In most RVs, the furnace (and ductwork) is located near your plumbing and tanks. The use of the RVs furnace helps prevent freeze ups. The use of a separate space heater instead of the furnace may actually allow your pipes to freeze.

  • I have also heard of having some kind of skirt for around the bottom to stop wind from whipping around, and also I have been told you can put an electric space heater under as well making sure it is in a safe location as this will likely stop the freezing of lines underneath but also help to keep the interior warmer and also help the stress on the furnace so it is not running 24/7, Has anyone tried this method- I have a Home on Cape Cod Massachusetts( well me and 2 other brothers) although there is plenty of room in the house or cottage I was thinking about testing this out there so I could always have other shelter available, plus its was my great grandfathers farm so I was thinking about putting it in the middle of the farm so its really out in the open- any other thoughts on the awnings, should they be used or should I put a pre-fitted tarp on the slide out with magnets to secure it and to keep any water getting in places to be able to freeze or at night have the slide outs pulled back in at night- only 2 of us so at night that would not be that bad for space since we will be sleeping and less room to heat, any info would help tremendously.

  • Some revs have to have slide out to open things like bathroom door, you may open it just far enough to use bathroom.

  • Bringing slide outs in at night may not be good if you are using your furnace and the vents may be covered when the slide out is in the IN position. It is pretty testy to utilize your rig water system in winter. I suggest not using your own water system, use bottled water and not hook up to water at faucet at all. Keep it winterized until no freezing temps.